Sridevi's death: Dubai Public Prosecution begins probe
A picture of Bollywood actress Sridevi Kapoor is seen put up outside her residence in Mumbai following her death.- AFP
The investigation into her death began in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
On Saturday evening, India's first female superstar Sridevi Boney Kapoor Ayyappan drowned in the bathtub of room number 2201 at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai.
Her death and the ongoing dramatic turn of events, which lasted for over 48 hours, have left fans and well-wishers in India and the UAE reeling in shock.
In a striking new turn of events, sources at the Dubai Police informed Khaleej Times that the Public Prosecution will conduct further investigation with regard to circumstances that led to her drowning. The investigation into her death began in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and the late actor's body has been at the General Department of Forensic Evidence, Dubai, since 2.30am on Sunday.
Meanwhile, sources also informed Khaleej Times that the laboratory results revealed she had consumed alcohol and was in an inebriated state when she slipped and fell into the bathtub that was filled with water.
The police also stated that there was no clear criminal motive with regard to her death, neither did she suffer a cardiac arrest like how it was reported earlier. Her death certificate, issued by the Ministry of Health and Prevention's Preventive Medicine Department also stated that her death was due to accidental drowning.
Officials also stated that a formal medical committee, under the supervision of senior police officials, is supervising the investigation. The police department is working beyond the working hours. Until the time of print, the body was not released and only social workers are waiting in front of the forensic department.
The media and workers were ordered to leave the premises at 5pm, however, an Indian Consulate representative and a family member who identified himself as Saurabh Malhotra, left the forensic department at noon and started working on the formalities towards repatriation. The exact reason for the delay cannot be ascertained, but as of now, papers are with the public prosecution department.
The Dubai Media Office Twitter account posted: "Dubai police assert that the case file was forwarded to the Public Prosecutor's Office in Dubai to take the necessary legal action in accordance with such cases." At 6pm Monday, the case was still referred to the public prosecution for further investigation.
Also, Consul-General of India Vipul stated that the Indian Consulate in Dubai is continuing to wait and hope that all procedures towards the repatriation of Sridevi's body would complete as soon as possible. "The matters are currently entirely with the public prosecution at the moment. We are hoping that proceedings would be completed soon," said Vipul.
The fact that the actor drowned to death has left fans and well-wishers in a state of shock, but it also left several open-ended questions on what exactly caused her death. Though the Dubai Police have not provided all the details of the circumstances that led to her death, Khaleej Times spoke to a forensics expert for an opinion.
Bhoopesh K Sharma, an assistant professor and programme leader for forensic science, Amity University Dubai, said: "Accidental drowning can occur due to different reasons. If a person experiences physiological changes in the body like low blood pressure, intoxication or any sudden medical emergency like stroke, heart attack or seizures, it can result in a person becoming semi-conscious or unconscious."
He added: "If they are near water, this can quickly lead to an accidental drowning. Additionally, simple fatigue or exhaustion could result in a person falling into a tub, unable to react in time after being submerged in water."
Commenting on the usual legal procedures, Anuradha Vobbiliselty, an advocate and legal consultant at Dr Ibrahim Al Mulla legal consultants said, "After the completion police investigation, all death cases of expatriates, including natural and unnatural death, are transferred to public prosecution department. If the prosecution feels that further investigation and another post-mortem is required, they can ask the concerned authorities to stop the repatriation of the deceased."
The story so far.Khaleej Times had reported late last night that Sridevi was getting ready for a dream dinner date with her husband Boney Kapoor before her death.
According to a source close to the family, Kapoor flew back from Mumbai and went to her room at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel around 5.30pm to "surprise" her with dinner. Sridevi, Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi Kapoor were in Ras Al Khaimah early last week to celebrate the wedding of her nephew Mohit Marwah.
It is said that Boney Kapoor had returned to Mumbai after the wedding, but decided to come back to 'surprise' his wife. After she refused to respond to his calls, he pushed the door open only to find her lying motionless in the bathtub. Since then, the family has been caught in a whirlwind of police investigation and media frenzy leaving several questions unanswered.
Since her body has been placed in the General Department of Forensic Evidence, Dubai Police, a small trickle of fans has been consistently been walking into the morgue section of the forensic department.
Leena Albuquerque, General manager of Grand Home Real Estate, and Marie Clare Curley, sales manager of the same company, have been friends with Boney Kapoor for over a decade. "He's a gentleman, and real tragedy has struck them. We've come to pay our respects to the family," said Curley.